If Democratic voters don’t turn out on Election Day, and independent voters help make a huge Republican wave on November 2, Big Oil and Big Coal will have won a stealth victory that will doom America to dependence on foreign oil and more greenhouse gas pollution for years to come.
For that we would largely have the dirty energy folks and the Tea Party no-nothings to blame. Both are providing political rocket fuel for the far-right this year.
Since 2009 fossil fuel industries have spent $500 million as part of a decades-long campaign to raise doubts about the science of global warming and to undermine policies to address it. And they have found a receptive audience within the Tea Party movement.
The fossil fuel industry’s political investment is underlined in an article in today’s New York Times that examines the fact that only 14 percent of Tea Party activists think global warming is an environmental problem.
The article quotes a Tea Party leader from Indiana:
“Carbon regulation, cap and trade, it’s all just a money-control avenue. Some people say I’m extreme, but they said the John Birch Society was extreme, too.”
It’s ironic and sad that when it comes to money and control it’s really Big Oil that’s pulling the Tea Party strings. That leaders of the Tea Party embrace other far-right extremists like John Birchers should come as no surprise, however.
The John Birch Society was prominently on display at this summer’s Michigan Republican Party Convention. Moroever, one of the founding members of the John Birch Society was Fred Koch, founder of Koch Industries, the oil services giant that is funneling millions into the “grassroots” Tea Party movement nationally.
If that doesn’t get your attention before next month’s elections, maybe this will: Of the 20 Republican U.S. Senate candidates in contested races, 19 question the science of global warming and oppose any comprehensive legislation to deal with it, according to a National Journal survey.
The same is true of a significant number of Republicans running for the U.S. House.
If you want to know how to keep us from sliding into the abyss on November 2, contact your favorite organization that is working to turn out environmental voters this year. Clean Water Action and Michigan League of Conservation Voters are two I know of that are doing this kind of work. Check them out before we all get stuck in the muck.